Twas a gloomy day in the south, the early morning dew clung desperately to the tall wild grass; the land was thick with hummocks, valleys, and prairies. A vast rich black soiled country, rich with raw, and much-needed elements. Such as coal, water, iron, and oil. And an endless supply of crops, wild game, and a bountiful supply of tree’s for lumber. Their lay a village, the village was named Minecrop; it was positioned in a wide valley which was located in the center of four large hummocks. A small creek that looped around the east end and turned into a majestic waterfall then into a rushing and vast flowing river their it continued for five miles before entering a rocky ravine where the water settled into a swamp and continued heading to the north across the river stood a stone bridge that led to the main road. The village was large and quite prosperous, by first glance. Stone cabin’s with oak posts and spruce fences with iron reinforcement’s. A trio of taverns that stood three stories high and all together covered sixty acres of land on the village’s north side. Carpenter shop and blacksmith, a bakery and butcher shop, a stables, four mills placed alongside the river used undoubtly for water and crop’s, out on the plains lay many farms and ranches and fenced land, the town was surrounded by a half finished stone wall the wall covered their north and west side but left the south and east exposed. The town hall was a small fortification of oak and stone. Iron clad doors and a pair of braziers rested atop the wall.
Before it in the town center was a plaza about a quarter of a mile in diameter. He continued to observe quietly his eyes taking all of the surrounding land with the highest degree of detail. He was hidden in the foliage facing the village by the south east he was a mile from the bridge and road not wanting any trouble, or to bring any unwanted attention to himself, grudgingly he stood his mail shirt brushing against his leather tunic, the dwarf looked curiously at the town making his way down the tall steep hill, at first no one noticed the small hooded figure approaching the south east, the wind was cool on the morning air, he perceived that very few would be awake as the sun began to rise over the distant horizon, as he went through the tall grass, a young maiden who had begun to sweep her houses porch. Happened to see the dwarf approach. Her name was June purecane the daughter of Titus and Caitlyn purecane, the dwarf hearing her sweeping stop suddenly he looked up and saw a pretty young women (for human standards). She was by his guess sixteen, or around eighteen cycles. A sharp nose and small mouth with wide lips, a soft square jaw, with large eyes and small rounded ears and soft cheekbones. She had amber colored eyes with small freckles across her lovely face, she wore a blue kirtle for the morning breeze, and it was a high contrast to her pale skin. She looked at him curiously, as he stopped not fifteen feet from their house; he spoke in a thick and gruff baritone voice. “Milady truly blessed would the man be to have you as his wife, if you we’re a dwarf woman I would not hesitate to do so.” She blushed and replied. “Do you need help sir dwarf?” He would have answered, but it was then her father came out, he looked curiously at the dwarf, seeing the traveling pack upon his back was empty.
(Not realizing his stomach was as well empty). Her father saw the dwarf was sweating lightly undoubtly from the trip down the hill, however; he saw also strapped to his back was a round iron forged buckler, and six short hand axes strapped to his belt and back.
The dwarf continued. “Good morning sir human I would ask of you if you know of a place where I could rest, and refurbish my supplies.” He could tell by the tone of the dwarf and his manner of speech he was from the north, and he felt an air of command around the dwarf. In reply he said. “Well master dwarf a place to stay would be Hogan’s tavern; for supply’s that would be the trading lodge. However the lodge owner negura I believe is currently at the plaza he usually is this time in the day, may I ask what your name is?” in reply he tossed him a gold coin and said. “Thank ye for the directions my name is Radnor!”
With that he began to walk again toward the town leaving Titus, and his daughter to watch him make his way to the town wondering where he was from and why he was here in their village.
Upon entering the town Radnor saw and perceived
He saw and heard nothing of a prosperous or thriving village of this size or the resources available to them. Not the sound of children playing, and running in front of doors, or on the road, nor the sound of horse driven carriages, wagons, or cattle being driven into the pens. Not the patter of boots, and the beating of dirty rugs, dogs barking, or the sound of the hammer upon an anvil being used, nor the grunt or groan of men hard-pressed at work. Neither was the sound nor smell of a bakery at work. Of biscuits or cakes, nor muffins, nor any fine meal. Being made for families, nor the sound of drunken laughter, or the scent of any fine food being baked, fried, smoked or cooked. He lifted his ear up to hear a hunter’s horn the sound of a school bell. He was disturbed to find not even men, or women taking a walk on the streets. A silence reigned that neither poet, nor bard could describe. As he walked towards the plaza he occasionally spotted someone looking out their window or peeking through their door cracks looking at him with curiosity or was it fear he thought? Upon entering the plaza he saw few vendors mostly selling pelt’s or fur rugs and clothing. Very few had other items to sell or offer. But he had scant money himself which he knew he must be cautious of what he spent.
The plaza unlike the towns dirt and pebble roads with spruce boardwalks, had a rust colored pavements that was its floor, it had four entrances marked by four spruce made gates. Which we’re imbedded in stone arch’s carved with runes and symbols he knew not nor did he care. The plaza center was marked by four weeping willows which surrounded a statue giving it a reverence behind its curtain of nature. The statue he saw depicted a man with a bow grasped in his left hand, and his quiver of arrows over his shoulder, and a plow in his right hand. He wore a tunic and a fur vest. A fine thick and long beard facing the east horizon his left leg lifted on a small stone his hair reached to his shoulders. Despite the detail. Radnor knew how hard the man had carved this out of stone, but sadly he did it wrong. Radnor upon a glance saw several flaws, and imperfections; however he held his peace not wanting to begin a local strife with the villagers.
He made his way to man who lazily rested on one of his fur blankets.
The vendor upon seeing him hurriedly leapt to his feet brushing his tunic, and trousers and straightening out anything that might catch the dwarf’s attention. Appearance he knew helped to make a sale. Radnor saw a fur trader by first glance. He spoke in a raspy cracked voice” well sir how I can help you, you need some beaver pelts, bear skin, otter rugs, or some nice coon fur?” “Nay none of them I come to ask you why is it so quiet, and may be your name?”
The salesman seeking to change the subject gave his best smile and replied. “Kegura be my name master dwarf what bringest thou to these parts a long way off from any mountain or dwarf realm?”
“Ah yes I am traveling to see my kinfolk in the northeast, I am looking for a man by the name of Hogan in order to refurbish my supply’s, and a decent tavern for me to rest, but what makes this Village to be so silent?” he looked crestfallen, and his smile fell as did his countenance and good cheer looking cautiously around the area as if seeing if they we’re overheard speaking then in a fearful tone “Tis a hill Troll, not but four cycles ago it came from the west under the cover of an eclipsed night, when it first arrived it rested after its long tiresome journey, but then slowly after several raids it began growing more, and more bolder. Often it came taking cattle, and the other livestock ripping out our crops, and robbing the bakery, and food storage. A group of able bodied men tried to kill it, but did not know what to use or how to kill. So they perished after that it began carrying off maidens, and children for a meal, none dare make a noise unless the troll comes to visit your house at night we sent word to the local militia, but none came the answer was that currently the militia is under orders from the lord of the land to scour out the east for several bold, and well armed bandits so far no help has so all the village is terrified of it, and we dare not fight it, or provoke it for we have not the means, or the knowledge of what weaponry to use.”
Radnor looked about he needed money, and supplies also he knew what this village needed. He then asked “Kegura what directions would I take to reach the village masters manor, and where Hogan would be at this hour?” He directed him to the largest building; Radnor then came across a rugged bearded and burly man (or he thought to himself what humans maiden thought to be Handsome). The young man had golden blonde hair, and dark black eyes with a short blunt nose, a firm square jaw, small round ears and bushy eyebrows with tan skin color. He wore a cotton tunic, and trousers, his thick and hairy forearms revealed large thick hands. He was well built but short in stature. His boots we’re made of leather with bronze under footing. His beard though short and neatly trimmed was thick. The young man said in a voice surprisingly clear and smooth base tone. “Good morning master dwarf what bringest thou so far from thine kingdom?” radnor replied. “I am journeying to the south to see my cousins, but I have stopped in order to refurbish my supplies and belly for the long journey, tell me would you know where Hogan would be at this hour?” the young man replied. “I am Hogan what would you need, for your supplies?’’ Radnor replied. “Well Hogan I need about four months worth of supply’s, six flagons of water, quarter pound of salted beef, honey coated bread, strawberry jam, herbs and spices, with canned beans, and about 8 pounds worth of iron beef.”
“Hmmmm nice list I’ll see what I have in store and get back to you later.” As Hogan left radnor went to the town hall, a stone fortress with iron clad gates and windows, with oak doors engraved and reinforced with gold and iron brackets. The braziers were made of iron with dried timber and whale oil for lighting. Held fast by steel forged bolts, and placed over the gate where a cauldron of steel lay. As radnor passed through the gates, two men with crudely forged pikes approached, wearing bronze armor and leather caps with bronze reinforcements. Radnor chuckled to himself as they marched to intercept him in an uncoordinated pattern.
They stopped him and the guard on the left asked. “Sah what be ye business here?!”
Radnor replied. “I come to seek the master of the town, tell me where would he be at this hour?” The guard on the left replied, “Oh you mean mayor lucky, or I mean mayor maynerdase puthcek. He is in the hall sir dwarf may we ask why ye seek him eh?”
“A business proposition of course, and uh… what may be your name’s?” the elder man replied. “Forek and kintor at yer service sah.” They escorted him into the town hall, where they left him standing in front of a bronze decorated hickory door as he went in seeing a beefy man with an amputation of his right arm and left leg. He had one sparkling blue eye; the other had an eye patch over it. His right ear was torn up as if something had chewed on it. He was bald with a long and unruly beard of a clear white. Radnor spoke then upon seeing him. “I am Radnor of the clan of Stonecry; I am called orc slayer, goblin smiter, and many other such titles. I hear you have trouble with a troll, Is that not true!” “Aye that be true sir dwarf, but what you are here to do mock us with your tales of glory felling trolls?” “Nay noble sir, but to help you, for unlike you I know what to do. For I know how to make the weapons to fell this foul beast, but I will need your help to do so.”
He did not say aloud, that he could singlehanded kill the troll, but he wanted these people to have something to say when they got older some deed they had accomplished. The master of the town stood shocked before saying. “What is it you seek in return Dwarf?” he studied radnor with a probing gaze trying to find something but what radnor did not know. Radnor continued. “I seek for some supplies, and directions but any dwarf will say tis our honor and duty to fell any foul beast, or to aid any folk in need of our blades, skill or what you need now is Knowledge. You can say no I’ll hold nothing anything against you, but what will be said of you that you had an opportunity to rid your village of this beast and you told the individual to get the hell out of here so naturally it’s your choice.” He looked questioningly not waiting for an answer as he turned to leave he said “If you have men that have the guts to help me send them to the smithy they will find me their.”
He found the blacksmith not their so he went to work forging steel hooks three feet in length, he made harpoons laying aside the two set of weaponry, he needed more iron to create steel so he went and grabbed any iron forged gear or tools, he stripped down the metals he needed setting aside the poles or handle planning to use them for some other means. He went to work then, working the bellows, keeping the iron heated through the furnaces which he needed fuel shortly or risk either letting the iron heat for to long or run to the woods and get some firewood. He turned abruptly seeing several men and women standing in awe even the blacksmith gaping at his accuracy and skill. He spoke aloud then. “Well if you’re here to help I need some firewood and three buckets of water and any iron forged equipment you no longer need or use I need two of you to work these bellows, another watch the furnaces and I need some one to fetch me some food and water move quickly the sooner we’re done the better.” Several rushed off for the wood and buckets. While everyone else began to help him, the blacksmith assisted him in what he knew but watch him when Radnor began doing something he did not know. Radnor made the villagers work through out the night with their help he made four dozen Hooks and ten Harpoons, going to the carpenter he had him construct with Radnor helping a triple harpoon caster. He turned to the villagers who came to help numbering about thirty saying. “Well we need more people to help and I want to know where the biggest open spot is in this area where the troll roams about?” a young lad spoke up then. “That would be bone prairie it’s about a quarter of a mile from the village heading south west, its about thirty miles in diameter Ranchers use it for their crops on the north side of it.” “Good very good I want you to show me where, I need twelve of you to help me with my plan it is essential, the rest of you I want you to either get people to stay in their cellars or come to help us bring shovels, nets and dried bushes or grass also we’ll need from the butcher some carcass for tonight.” They set out then twelve burly men followed Radnor and the boy one of these men Radnor saw was Kegura. The prairie was vast and the grass tall to the point where Radnor could stand in it and would not be seen, Radnor seeing a boulder rising high out of the prairie he climbed atop it saying. “We’ll need four pits each around twelve feet deep and about four wide, I want the pits about six feet from each other when side by side and fifteen feet in length from the other holes start digging the sooner we’re done the better, now young lad show me where the troll dwells.” The boy grew pale but led Radnor to where the troll dwelled. It was a foul place smelling of excrement and rotting corpses of human and cattle parts, Radnor noticed it was gaping hole about thirty feet tall a large boulder rolled into place blocked the sunlight, it was part of the underground river system but dried out, Radnor turned and asked the lad if the troll appeared else where?
He replied in turn to Radnor. “Aye master Dwarf sometimes really depends if it notices any lookouts which we often place to watch this entrance then it appears elsewhere but we don’t where any other dried water system is?” radnor nodded and seeing the boy clearly terrified told him that they should be getting back. At the prairie now three score stood there men of farmers, carpenters, bakers, hunters and lumberjacks. Radnor broke the men into crews having them dig and sending several lumberjacks, to collect several logs and limbs. He had them work with the carpenters to sharpen them into stakes cutting them where they stood at three feet and a foot thick. He then had the hunters begin making trenches covering them with dry grass and bushes.
When the pits and trenches we’re done he worked with the men placing the stakes upward at the bottom of the pits facing upwards, he affixed the hooks with rope and the harpoons as well. The caster he had facing where he wanted the troll to stand. They covered it with dried grass and bushes as well. After working for eight hours they finished with the set up. He said. “Good now what we shall need is for all the people not aiding us to go into their cellars and basements and await there till the deed is done. I will give you men that came to help me a fare warning many of you will or can possibly die from this trap whether it works or not. So if any of you wish to leave I hold nothing against you I understand.” He waited seeing none go but hard and determined bearded faces with hope and eagerness with their eyes and hearts intently. He then said. “Very well bring me the carcasses of the cattle place them in front and behind the pits so it cannot escape. Harpooners shoot for it throat, the left side of its chest, and its knee and elbows we don’t want it running. Hook throwers get its back, arms and legs lead it to the pit we want its hands and feet stuck in them before we move to kill it.
When I shout Felled we shall strike remember the plan and whatever you do………..do not hesitate to kill it. All right let us prepare.”
It was late in the evening when the carcasses we’re in place Radnor before they had started covered them from head to toe with mud and dried grass clinging to their bare chests they wore only trousers which were covered in mud. And then they waited laying or sitting in the trenches for it. When they saw the sun set going under the tree line, for several minutes heard nothing until the scraping of stone against stone. The boulder was rolled to the side the troll stepped out smelling blood in the air it was hungry from its three day sleep it began its great lumbering stride its bare feet trampling and crushing anything in its path.
They saw the trees swaying as it quickened its pace breaking trees and bulldozing through them until it reached the prairie. Radnor saw the troll. Dark gray skin, with a large beefy head it stood at twenty feet in height and incredible callous skin that to normal weaponry acted like armor. It strode boldly forward in a confident stride; its thick hairy feet trampled the small foliages and grass. It lifted its bulky head rubbing the sleep from its eyes, scratching its hairy arse and lower back.
It had slight limp to its right leg, and a scar ran from its ankle to its knee. It lumbered over to the three pairs of carcasses, grabbing its rear legs; it opened its maw, taking large bites. Distilled and fermenting blood, splashed on its maw. Soon it finished reaching for another by stepping forward. Its leg fell into the trap from its ankle to its knee, the spiked posts pierced the callous foot due mostly to its weight then the sharpness of the stakes. As it strained to break free; it rested its right hand down to steady itself.
The camouflage fell taking the hand with it. It howled with pain the stakes secured its hand in the trap. It was then Radnor shouted “FELLED!!!!!” the men rushed out casting their hooks and hurling mizzen rope over its back. The hooks many missing but all finding a place to lodge onto the troll. Peeled through the callous skin lodging onto its bones and bunched up skin. Six men apiece tackled the ropes pulling hard trying to force the beast to the ground further. Roaring now with frustration, the troll fought back with the determination to survive, as it tried to lift its legs and arm from the traps. When the first harpoon struck. The iron forged bolt struck its shoulder blade splitting it in two, piercing through it’s shoulder blade before suddenly expanded lodging in place more securely. The Men manning the capstan like device (Designed by radnor, and the much needed skills of the both the local blacksmith and carpenter). Cranking the caster which began winding the sturdy rope drawing the troll to its chest towards the ground. It strained to escape, but already weakened by its early attempts of escape. The caster fired again catching its right breast with the triple serrated pronged harpoon head piercing through the bone, shocked its entire right arm buckled giving way. The men unlatching the ropes to the harpoons, in order for more to be fired furiously pulled. Radnor and his assigned crew scrambled to load the next set of harpoons. They fired striking the gut, piercing the callous pot belly. It gave a horrendous howl as it grasped the harpoon rope trying to forcibly draw the caster closer. Radnor having anticipated the beast would do this had used piston like anchors, that had been dug twelve feet down and five feet wide. The pistons held the troll back, not able to use its now depleted great strength. Radnor aimed the caster towards its right knee and left hip. The two harpoons struck true with a sickening thud the Troll fell its face burrowed into the earth, Radnor went forward then ushering the men close, carrying a carefully wrapped object. At the beasts head, he drawed backs the covering revealing a crow’s beak war hammer. The iron forged weapon was three feet in length and six inches thick. He turned and asked. “Who will take the killing stroke?” Hogan stepped forward and said. “I will.” Radnor handed him the weapon hilt first. Hogan stepping forward said aloud his thoughts. “For many summers you have plagued us, taking many loved ones, and belonging into your dwelling, and now foul beast it ends today.”
Lifting the heavy weapon he swung, splitting the back of the trolls head open. He pounded the back leaving the brain a bloody and pulped mess. Exhausted he lay down watching the blood slowly creep down over the now dead troll. The men looked at the beast with shock finding their long hated foe dead, and their families, and all who they had loved finally avenged.
Radnor watched as they began shouting some running to the village to spread the news. Radnor smiled and walked up to the Troll feeling its callous skin. He drawed a sawed serrated seax from its scabbard. He cut around the neck, separating the skin, then the blood, and apple before sawing at the neck bone, disgusting in smell and sight but radnor after several minutes severed the bulky and quite heavy head. Troll’s we’re not good for eating, but their bones, and skin could be used for many things. The men under Radnors direction. Skinned the troll, they removed its skeleton after five days of tedious work. They left the meat as it was for they knew wild game would tend to it. They strapped the head to carriage along with some of its bones. At their return they mounted the trolls head over the town hall gates. The Mayor in honor of their courageous men proclaimed a feast was to be held. Hogan and Kegura with radnor watched as men, and women began furnishing the decorations to the plaza. Hogan turned to see June come up the hill. He stood from where he lay, and walked over to her. She stopped halfway before throwing her arm around Hogan’s neck. They kissed passionately laughing at the joy that the troll was dead, and a life they had always wanted to share could now begin.
Radnor smiled at this asking Kegura. “So what you do now?” he answered. “I’ll take some men with me to enter the trolls dwelling, and recover our belonging, and to claim any bones of our people. For they deserve to be put to rest in a more proper fashion and you Radnor?”
“My journey is far from here, and this is one stop among many to reach my destination. I will stay to celebrate your town’s victory, and instruct your blacksmith how to forge these tools, and other such weapons, and tools you may find useful.”
Radnor had been rewarded handsomely by the mayor, by two ponies and twice the amount of supplies radnor had asked for along with two small chests of gold and silver coins recovered from the troll’s dwelling. The feast was in uproar as men and women danced to the musicians tunes. Table’s laded with food worthy for the lord of the land we’re displayed, the bakery had provided numerous cakes and pies, with muffins honey coated biscuits. Beef stew and potatoes soup, finely cooked chicken, apple, peach and mango cider with apple wine and honey mead. Women from all the other house holds brought their foods to add to the feasts. Radnor sat among the town elders, where the mayor rested heavily in his chair. Radnor enquired how the mayor received his injuries. He learned the mayor had been one of the many men who had attacked the troll, but had managed to escape leaving a wound on the troll’s right leg with his pickaxe. His pickaxe radnor had seen must have struck the hamstring severing it. Thus giving the troll its limp and its scar. Radnor stood then proposing a toast. “I bring a toast for your mayor, who had chosen to accept my offer, and of his courage long ago to your Mayor Maynerdase Puthcek!” as they gave their toast, the townsfolk replied in usion. “Three cheers for Mayor lucky!” At this the mayor looked at radnor who simply gave a confused look whiling hiding the smile by drinking his tankard. Radnor shortly after departed, year’s later tales of the Dwarf who helped a town in its need spread. Hogan wedded June and together they helped their town flourish, becoming a major trade center in the south. Radnor heard many versions on how the story was told, and he chuckled however he remembered as he sat their in his old age at High city how thank full those people were.
He heard then and remembered a song conducted by June and several of the other young women. It went like this.
“On a gloomy Morn their came a stranger from the far High north, but twas not a man, nor a fair elf. But a dwarf of the north.
On that morn he came to us, and upon seeing our troubled way of life today. Forged from fire and iron, girt steel weapons of war. He gathered our men with girt, and strength. To bone prairie where he lay a trap for Minecrops Bane. It came at night in a lumbering stride, bold, and strong the Troll Came. As felled was cried, the lines were tossed, and steel Hooks clasped Bone hard. The Battle raged in strength to strength, as metal grinded flesh, and rope burned skin. The Troll fell at Bone prairie, as The Story is told. But our Men say that it fell when the Dwarf came from the North. Now we praise, and give thanks to the Dwarf from the North and hope one day we can repay what he did us. Though Time may come, our hearts remain, and we will wait for the Coming of the Dwarf of the North.”